Authorities in Shanghai have launched a campaign to install recorders on all of the municipality's 18,000 buses by the end of next year.
The recorders will be similar to the "black boxes" on planes and are aimed at helping reduce the accident rate.
Liu Guilin, director-general of the Shanghai Urban Transportation Administration, said: "Safety is the lifeline of bus operations. The adoption of this device marks a great step forward in management."
In the first five months of this year, 51 people were killed in 50 bus accidents in Shanghai. There were 103 such deaths in the whole of last year.
Jin Xiao of the administration's safety watchdog said that investigations have shown excessive speed to be the main killer.
The "black box" can record the performance of the driver and the speed of the bus. This information can help the police who is responsible if there is a traffic accident.
When connected to a speaker, the "black box" can warn the driver to slow down and all the passengers can hear this warning.
Shanghai now has 58 bus companies with a total of 18,000 buses. The buses travel 2.86 million kilometers a day and carry 70 per cent of the city's passenger volume.
Jin said: "The administration has put in place favorable policies for bus transport. But a certain number of drivers who break the regulations must be taken to task, and the 'black box' will keep a sharp eye on them."
Positive results were obtained from a trial operation in which recorders were installed on 252 buses running on 15 different routes in the city.
Jin said the administration plans to fit recorders on 3,392 buses that run on 145 lines in the city by the end of this year.
(China Daily July 4, 2002)